Giant Leak Releases Nintendo Source Code Into the Wild


Insiders are claiming that two terabytes of legacy Nintendo secrets were recently leaked online. Although the gaming company is known for protecting its proprietary information with strict controls, the leak appears to have been caused by a third party company’s servers.

Video Games Chronicle shares an overview of what the leaked information may include. This includes everything from hardware specifications to code for console operating systems. It also contains a demo from Nintendo’s extinct trade show Space World.

A PowerPoint presentation by the company about its design philosophy is one of the items that was leaked. Polygon reports users have complained about the random “friend code” numbers Nintendo has being using since the Wii. However, Nintendo has stuck to the concept–some say stubbornly. Each system has had a friend-code feature, even though it was supplemented by Nintendo for the Wii U.

The PowerPoint explains that Nintendo used random numbers to protect players from anyone trying to invade their privacy during the early days of Wii. Steam games platform uses a display name that does not include a user number. Trying to find Andrea or Matt can feel like throwing darts. Discord achieves a balance by using a combination of a display name and a four-digit number.

Gamers don’t like the Nintendo friend code as a substitute for a traditional username. However, the experience could be smoother with a better-designed operating system and interface. Instead, the friend codes have become the microcosm of Nintendo’s unwillingness to create an online community that is user-friendly. Although the Switch’s UI is much better than most other video games, it still falls far short of all others.

Image Credit: Erik McLean

The video game industry releases a mixture of first-party and third-party titles. For example, the Halo franchise is for Xbox, the Mario franchise for Nintendo and the Halo franchise on Nintendo Wii U. Today, the Nintendo Switch is compatible with Unity, a major game-development platform. This decision was made by Nintendo to attract third-party star power on the Wii U and Wii U amid lagging interest.

Unity support is also necessary for a current security reason. To be able work on these games, any third party developer must have – you guessed it – an obscene amount of Nintendo corporate secrets. Of course, an attack surface will be dramatically expanded when sharing that kind of information.

The latest leak contains all the context need to understand Nintendo’s programming and a “demo reel”, which shows what the console could do.

This newly leaked data poses a serious threat to a specific type of Nintendo business: rereleases or ports of old Nintendo titles. Source code from the N64 and GameCube will allow people to convert old games into emulation (or ROM) files that can be downloaded and used on computers or specially-rigged consoles.

Nintendo has released very few older games on the Switch compared to the Virtual Console on Wii. With real N64 source code now in our hands, the world is our oyster.

In other cloud gaming news, Google Waives the $130 Entry Fee for Stadia Cloud Gaming Service.

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